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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden doesn't just have to manage the coronavirus pandemic, he also has to manage people's expectations for how soon the country will come out of it.

And on the latter task, projecting too much optimism can be as risky as offering too little, requiring what one public health expert calls a "necessarily mixed message."

At every turn, as the Biden administration works to inoculate every adult American, the president is tempering bullish proclamations about the nation's vaccine supply with warnings about the challenges ahead.

His big announcement Tuesday that there would enough vaccine for all adults by the end of May, two months earlier than previous predictions, came with a chaser from Biden that it could be a full year before the nation gets back to normal.

But even then, his pledge skated over the idea that while the administration expects to have procured enough vaccine by the end of the May, there is no guarantee that all those shots will get into arms by then.

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US forces: Rockets hit airbase in Iraq hosting US troops

BAGHDAD (AP) — At least 10 rockets targeted a military base in western Iraq that hosts U.S.-led coalition troops on Wednesday, the coalition and the Iraqi military said. It was not immediately known if there were any casualties.

The rockets struck Ain al-Asad airbase in Anbar province at 7:20 a.m., coalition spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto said. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Iraqi military released a statement saying the attack did not cause significant losses and that security forces had found the launch pad used for the rockets. It was found in the al-Baghdadi area of Anbar, an Iraqi military official said on condition of anonymity to discuss the attack with the media. 

It was the first attack since the U.S. struck Iran-aligned militia targets along the Iraq-Syria border last week, killing killed one militiaman and stoking fears of a possible repeat of a series of tit-for-tat attacks that escalated last year, culminating in the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani outside the Baghdad airport. 

Wednesday's attack targeted the same base where Iran struck with a barrage of missiles in January last year in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani. Dozens of U.S. service members were injured, suffering concussions in that strike.

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Tactical shift: Europe seeks vaccine 'overdrive' to catch up

BERLIN (AP) — Slow off the blocks in the race to immunize its citizens against COVID-19, Germany faces an unfamiliar problem: a glut of vaccines and not enough arms to inject them into.

Like other countries in the European Union, its national vaccine campaign lags far behind that of Israel, Britain and the United States. Now there are growing calls in this country of 83 million to ditch the rulebook, or at least rewrite it a bit.

Germans watched with morbid fascination in January as Britain trained an army of volunteers to deliver coronavirus shots, then marveled at the fact that the U.K. — hit far worse by the pandemic than Germany — managed to vaccinate more than half a million people on some days.

The U.S. drive-thru inoculation centers and the COVID-19 shots given out in American grocery store pharmacies drew bafflement in Germany — that is, until the country's own plans for orderly vaccine appointments at specialized centers were overwhelmed by the demand.

"Anglo-Saxon countries had a much more pragmatic approach," said Hans-Martin von Gaudecker, a professor of economics at the University of Bonn. "What normally makes German bureaucracy stolid and reliable becomes an obstacle in a crisis and costs lives."

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Myanmar authorities charge Associated Press journalist

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Authorities in Myanmar have charged Associated Press journalist Thein Zaw and five other members of the media with violating a public order law that could see them imprisoned for up to three years, a lawyer said Tuesday.

The six were arrested while covering protests against the Feb. 1 military coup in Myanmar that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The group includes journalists for Myanmar Now, Myanmar Photo Agency, 7Day News, Zee Kwet online news and a freelancer.

Lawyer Tin Zar Oo, who represents Thein Zaw, said the six have been charged under a law that punishes anyone who causes fear among the public, knowingly spreads false news, or agitates directly or indirectly for a criminal offense against a government employee.

The law was amended by the junta last month to broaden its scope and increase the maximum prison term from two years.

AP's Thein Zaw, 32, was taken into custody on Saturday morning in Yangon, the country's largest city. He is reported to be held in Insein Prison in northern Yangon, notorious for housing political prisoners under previous military regimes.

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National security officials to testify on Jan. 6 mistakes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal national security officials are set to testify in the second Senate hearing about what went wrong on Jan. 6, facing questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. 

Senators are eager Wednesday to grill the officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations as supporters of then-President Donald Trump talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington and interrupting the electoral count. 

At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed each other as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol itself. Five people died as a result of the rioting.

So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists' planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was "stunned" over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. 

Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. 

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Deadly Calif. crash on route for illegal border crossings

HOLTVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Barely a mile from where an SUV packed with 25 people struck a tractor-trailer — killing 13 inside — a cemetery with unmarked bricks is a burial ground for migrants who died crossing the border from Mexico to remote California desert. 

Authorities are investigating whether human smuggling was involved in Tuesday's early-morning collision that killed the 22-year-old male driver of the SUV and 12 passengers. The Mexican government said 10 of the dead were Mexican citizens and that nationalities of the three others who died was undetermined.

Seats of the 1997 Ford Expedition were removed except for the driver and right front passenger's, said Omar Watson, chief of the California Highway Patrol's border division.

The cause of the collision was undetermined, authorities said, and it also was unknown why so many people were crammed into a vehicle built to hold eight people safely. But smugglers have been known to pack people in extremely unsafe conditions to maximize profits.

The crash occurred during the height of harvest in California's Imperial Valley, which provides much of the lettuce, onions, broccoli and winter vegetables to U.S. supermarkets. Holtville, a no-stoplight town with a gazebo in its large central square, calls itself the world's carrot capital.

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Biden brings no relief to tensions between US and China

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden took office promising to move quickly to restore and repair America's relations with the rest of the world, but one major nation has yet to see any U.S. effort to improve ties: China. 

From Iran to Russia, Europe to Latin America, Biden has sought to cool tensions that rose during President Donald Trump's four years in office. Yet, there have been no overtures to China.

Although the Biden administration has halted the ferocious rhetorical attacks and near daily announcements of new sanctions on China that had become commonplace under Trump, it has yet to back down on any of Trump's actions against Beijing.

This persistent state of low-intensity hostility has profound implications. China and the United States are the world's two largest economies and the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Their power struggle complicates global efforts to deal with climate change and recover from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Biden's tough stance has its roots in the competition for global power, but it's also a result of the 2020 presidential election campaign in which Trump and his allies repeatedly sought to portray him as soft on China, particularly during the pandemic that originated there. There's also little appetite from lawmakers in either party to ease pressure on China.

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Trump's cash plea could complicate GOP fundraising efforts

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — "Trump needs you," one fundraising email implored.

"President Trump's Legacy is in your hands," another pleaded.

Others advertised "Miss Me Yet?" T-shirts featuring Donald Trump's smiling face.

While some Republicans grapple with how fiercely to embrace the former president, the organizations charged with raising money for the party are going all in. The Republican National Committee and the party's congressional campaign arms are eager to cash in on Trump's lure with small donors ahead of next year's midterm elections, when the GOP hopes to regain control of at least one chamber of Congress.

But there's a problem: Trump himself. In his first speech since leaving office, the former president encouraged loyalists to give directly to him, essentially bypassing the traditional groups that raise money for GOP candidates.

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Intense preparations before pontiff meets Iraqi ayatollah

BAGHDAD (AP) — In Iraq's holiest city, a pontiff will meet a revered ayatollah and make history with a message of coexistence in a place plagued by bitter divisions. 

One is the chief pastor of the world-wide Catholic Church, the other a pre-eminent figure in Shiite Islam whose opinion holds powerful sway on the Iraqi street and beyond. Their encounter will resonate across Iraq, even crossing borders into neighboring, mainly Shiite Iran.

Pope Francis and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani are to meet on Saturday for at most 40 minutes, part of the time alone except for interpreters, in the Shiite cleric's modest home in the city of Najaf. Every detail was scrutinized ahead of time in painstaking, behind-the-scenes preparations that touched on everything from shoes to seating arrangements. 

The geopolitical undertones weigh heavy on the meeting, along with twin threats from a viral pandemic and ongoing tensions with rocket-firing Iranian-backed rogue groups. 

For Iraq's dwindling Christian minority, a show of solidarity from al-Sistani could help secure their place in Iraq after years of displacement — and, they hope, ease intimidation from Shiite militiamen against their community. 

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Australian AG Porter denies rape accusation, won't resign

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's attorney-general denied having sexual contact with a 16-year-old who had accused him of raping her 33 years ago and said Wednesday he would not resign as the nation's top law officer.

Christian Porter instead said he would take leave to care for his mental health after the allegations recently became public.

"I'm going to take a couple of short weeks leave just for my own sanity," Porter told reporters. "I think that I will be able to return from that and do my job."

The accuser took her own life last year, and her allegations against Porter became public last week when they were sent anonymously to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other lawmakers. 

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